UpRise music festival makes a come back this weekend in Hackney

The capital’s long-standing anti-racism music festival that was axed by Boris Johnson will be resurrected this weekend in Dalston.

The original Rise festival had been held in Finsbury Park since 1996 - but during Johnson’s first year as Mayor in 2008, he decided the festival would no longer carry an antiracism message.

Trade Unions withdrew their support and the next year the festival was abandoned altogether because of lack of sponsorship.

Renamed UpRise, the festival is making its come back in Dalston and now includes art, film, theatre, dance and debates throughout the whole day at 14 venues including a roof top vegetable garden and a world war two bunker.

For the past two years arts collective BrazenBunch - a non-profit movement working to assist the marginalised and disadvantaged – have been working tirelessly to continue the festival’s legacy.

They staged a small-scale festival last October, but now seek to rebuild what was at its peak Europe’s biggest anti-racism event.

UpRise Director Paul Richards said: “Prejudicial views derive from a deep rooted history, and sadly, racism still very much blemishes our society daily.

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“Only by open discussion will we all be able to move toward peace and respect, and resign racism to the history books where it belongs, once and for all.”

Although the festival will move to different places in successive years, it was not accidental that Hackney was chosen for the festival’s inaugural venue.

“As time passes, once-overlooked areas can become the ‘next-best-place-to-be’ and this can often end up creating divisions and resentment in the community as an area changes its identity,” said Paul.

“You can’t halt evolution, but we intend to use UpRise to unify the traditional and new residents, and show what can be achieved when we all work together for the common good of humanity,” he added.

This year’s theme is ‘Community Is Home’ and a trail links all the venues which have been named after parts of a home, encouraging the idea that the community and the planet belong to everyone.

Participating venues include Gillett Square, Studio Upstairs, Passing Clouds, Centreprise, Open the Gate, Dalston Roof Park, the Arcola Theatre, the Dalston Curve Garden, and the Vortex.

For more information on the festival which runs from noon to 8pm see http://uprise.org.uk/